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Wednesday, May 21, 2008 

We Have Disagreements Now?

In his May 2008 letter to pastors President Kieschnick writes:

Finally, there also have been disagreements related to administrative decisions, official opinions, and adjudicatory judgments of panels, boards, committees, commissions, employees, and officers of the Synod.

About such disagreements, I ask: Do they deal with doctrinal matters, or with matters of implementation of doctrinal principles? Are the divisions or disagreements among us primarily matters of faith and practice, or are they for the most part differences of opinion in matters of adiaphora? Is the LCMS deeply divided, or are our disagreements primarily related to the fact that for a variety of reasons, some members of the Synod have grown to dislike or to distrust one another?


Two thoughts here. First, in his letter to the Wall Street Journal concerning the cancellation of Issues, Etc President Kieschnick stated:

In truth, last summer the LCMS had its most positive and unified convention in years. Our church remains faithful to the Scriptures and Lutheran Confessions, an integral part of our identity as a church body. As stated in a resolution adopted last summer by the national Synod convention: “From the founding of our Synod 160 years ago, we have been blessed by unity in our common confession and the articles of our shared faith, such as the Trinity, the person and work of Christ, original sin, baptismal regeneration, the real presence of Christ’s body and blood in the Sacrament, the inerrancy of Scripture and many others.”

He then went on to talk about the evidence of being unified measured by the passing of the synod’s marketing campaign in convention. He put forward to the outside world the notion that we are all one big happy family within the LCMS.

I think President Kieschnick needs to send another letter to the WSJ and say not only do we disagree about policies of admission to Holy Communion; the respective roles, responsibility, authority, and accountability of pastors and lay people; the service of women in the church; and various expressions of worship, inter-Christian relationships; what constitutes unionism and syncretism; and issues related to participation in civic events as he stated in his report during last summer's convention but also that we now agree on the fact that there are disagreements on administrative decisions, official opinions, and adjudicatory judgments of panels, boards, committees, commissions, employees, and officers of the Synod.

Yep, there are definitely a lot of “disagreements” in the LCMS.

My second thought concerns the last paragraph of the email posted here. If the synodical leadership was as transparent as it should be and acting like a church instead of a corporation, we all would know if disagreements among us primarily matters of faith and practice, or are they for the most part differences of opinion in matters of adiaphora. We are uncertain whether this is adiaphora or not because we are told that all matters on how the synod conducts it’s business is a matter for closed door meetings and human resource managers conducted in accord with bylaws and resolutions. When decisions are made not by boards tasked with the required oversight, but by individuals who consistently change their reasoning and stories and are seemingly accountable to no one , how are any of us to know if what we disagree upon is adiaphora or not?

That’s the whole problem with the Issues, Etc. debacle, nobody knows what really happened and nobody in the synodical leadership is willing to give answers. All the leaders of synod seem to be doing is saying that we need to put the best construction on the matter and that we need to trust what was done was done for the best reasons.

Yeah, right.

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I have trouble beleiving anybody who claims to be a pastor and gets up to address any sort of an issue in a business suit. You can tell that he is no better than a typical corporate CEO.

Sounds like sit down and shut up to me.

Kieschnick's letter demonstrates either his disregard of sound doctrine or his lack of comprehension when he lists communion practice as if it were an area where we could have a legitimate difference of opinion. So.
1. Is it the real presence or not?
2. Is the true presence always there, whether received worthily or unworthily?
3. Does it require faith in the promise to recieve it worthily?
4. Does faith presuppose knowing something (a promise) in order to have something to believe in? (Rom 10:17)
5. If a pastor gives the real presence to someone who does not believe (for whatever reason) can it harm them?
6. Are we more concerned about #'s and $s than we are harming someone spiritually?
7. Or is all that Word and Sacrament stuff from my grandfather's church?

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